How easy it is to forget.


Two and a half years ago, I was sitting across from my uncle at my kitchen table with Mark to my right. Mark was nearing graduation and I was at that stage where the idea of life after college was coming into fruition. Grad school was the next step, naturally. It was the simplest and expected next step...but I wasn't sure why. What would I study? Was it simply a way to delay? Or perhaps a way to avoid searching for a job in the rapidly declining economy, where we were hearing more about job losses than job hiring.

We talked about going to J school, or perhaps law school or maybe even pursuing an M.F.A in creative nonfiction. Right as Mark and I were ready to move onto the next topic of discussion, my uncle threw out an idea, as if casting out a line, hoping we'd bite back. "Why don't you go to Korea?" he asked. After all, he and my aunt did it for a few years when I was a small child, and they loved it. He then talked about the lucrative opportunities tutoring, the free housing, the amazing social scene, the never-ending list of things we could do, the ability to travel around Asia, the delicious food. Above all else, he said, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to just enjoy yourself before you start working.

It was a seed he planted into my head that evening that quickly spread into a plausible option after college. Although my parents hesitated a bit when I first ran the idea by them, they eventually came around. After all, they witnessed how living in D.C. and traveling to France changed my life, how it helped me grow tremendously. So, here I am, almost three months in Seoul, and I guess you can say the rest is history.

Except that it's not. I'm the first to admit that a lot of my time here has been racked with anxiety, stress, constant what-ifs and negativity as potential job opportunities didn't pan out, money was looking tight and it seemed as if I'd never have a place to call my own. I lost sight of why I came here: to enjoy life.

So often people offer their opinions about whether or not I should extend my stay here. Whether or not I should do this or do that and I'm always left thinking about those thoughts long after they've left. If I only stayed for a year like I had intentionally planned, does that mean I'm not as courageous as those who have stayed longer? Or what if I extend? Will my siblings forget who their older sister is? Will my life at home still be there or will they have moved on without me in the picture?

But now, as I reflect on my first couple months here, I'm slightly disappointed with myself at how much I let these negative thoughts and other people's opinions affect me. My goal and desire is to live and appreciate each fleeting moment, right here and right now. This won't last forever, so why worry about tomorrow?

I came here to enjoy myself...and that's it. That's what I'm going to do.

I hope you will too. Until next time, gros bisous xoxo.


Kaylenr said...
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Kaylenr said...

Hey Liz, I love your thoughts about this. As a person who has lived away from most of her family for five years, I am asked constantly how long I will stay far away. Sometimes it frustrates me that people don't understand how amazing it can be to try something new, struggle through the cultural differences and the unique city lifestyle. You are totally on the right track to enjoy each day and remember all the new experiences. Everything will work out, or it won't. In the meantime, you and Mark are creating so many memories and you guys should stay as long as it feels right.

Nick said...

Liz, almost identically put as the woman above... I have that same feeling almost daily. I like your view on it, and it definitely helped me to remember to put some things in perspective and enjoy the moment! it definitely won't last forever.....
Miss you xx